Why 2014 Matters For Mobile Marketing In 2015

By Johana Leeflang | January 8th, 2015

Happy New Year to all! As we enter 2015 we would like to reflect back on 2014. Over the past 12 months, there have been developments and milestones that have really made an impact on the industry. Here's a monthly round up of the news, reports and stats from 2014 that will also likely impact mobile marketing in 2015.


2014 started off strong, especially for the Chinese mobile gaming market. The Chinese Android app store Wandoujia generated $120 million in funding from Japanese mobile telecommunications company Softbank. This was an interesting development in the already complicated Chinese mobile landscape as it currently has hundreds of alternative app stores. If you would like to learn more about the dynamic nature of the Asian mobile marketing download our free eBook for an in-depth explanation. For an overview of China’s top 10 android app stores click here.

Source: China Money Network

Currently, we can see greater consolidation of the Chinese mobile market with the top 6 vendors accounting for 78.9% of the total downloads in the market (Q4, 2014). Wandouija comes in fourth claiming 10% of the downloads.


Apple announced that IDFAs must be used for the sole of purpose of displaying advertising. This clause restricted advertisers even further as IDFA was the only hardware identifier that Apple still allowed up until that point.

Here at AppLift we also take data privacy seriously, as last year we obtained our trustE certification for the AppLift domain. Stay tuned as in 2015 we will announce more measures to guarantee user privacy.


Mobile broke the internet, or at least PC usage. Earlier this year CNN reported that mobile usage had surpassed PC internet usage in the USThis solely includes internet usage within apps, thus does not take mobile web browsing into account. Nonetheless, this is quite impressive and has sparked great interest from marketeers.


The latest report by eMarketer predicts that by 2018 mobile ad spend worldwide will reach $159 billion, which will be 63% of the total digital advertising budget.


Apple had a rough start last year having to settle the IAP lawsuit with the FTC at $32.5 million in customer refunds. Consequently, to increase transparency for iOS users (and to possibly avoid new lawsuits) Apple decided to clearly distinguish those apps that have an in-app purchase as such.

candy-crush-IAP-App Store-mobile-marketing-2015

As of yet we don’t see IAP shares decreasing but as the industry matures platforms will need to comply and adjust to consumer regulations and demands.


In May of 2014 App Annie hit a milestone that further strengthened their position in the market of app analytics by successfully acquiring their first company: Distimo. At the time Distimo was a strong player in mobile app tracking and reporting and the merge seemed to make “sense” to both parties as they shared the same vision “to inform everyone in the app industry with the best data and analytics platform.”

In 2015 we believe we’ll see more movements in the app store and app analytics space, as the industry keeps on becoming more quantitative and data-based.  


App Store discoverability has been an issue that both developers and consumers have been struggling with. In response to these issues, in June of 2014 Apple announced several new features in the App Store search function. For game developers the most significant would probably be the: ‘Best New Game Updates’ feature as well as the new ‘Explore’ feature to discover new apps as these incentivized developers to constantly improve while the latter brought in new users.

app store best new game updates

Discovery in the App Store still seems to be a pressing issue and we hope to see further improvements in 2015.


2014 was the year that native advertising went from a vague buzzword to an actual phenomenon, from desktop to mobile and across verticals it became one of the strongest tools for successful user acquisition and monetization.  Therefore, when PubNative ventured into the native advertising mobile space to become the first API- based publisher platform with 100% focus on native ads AppLift took the opportunity to invest in their future. PubNative was born out of AppLift’s practice, understanding and vision of the mobile advertising market. Therefore, when the time came AppLift invested over one million in seed funding. We have already seen the great impact that Pubnative has had on the industry pleasing several new clients with various forms of native ads.

punative-applift-investmenet-native advertising-mobile marketing-2015

At the end of 2014 eMarketer predicted that native advertisement will keep going strong spending to keep growing, expected to reach $8.8 billion in 2018.


Once again China’s mobile market made headlines when Kabam invested $120 million into Alibaba. Kabam has been working its way into the Asian market for some time now, setting up offices in Beijing over 4 years ago and collaborating with Asian developers to bring their games to the west. This strategic partnership clearly will help Kabam break into the lucrative and dynamic Asian market.

The Asian mobile market boomed in 2014 and we do not see it slowing down anytime soon. To learn more about the dynamic nature of the mobile gaming industry in Asia follow up with our eBook on the three biggest Asian markets for mobile games, that explores the diversification and the richness of the industry overseas.


Twitch, the live video platform and community which connects developers, publishers and gamers, was acquired by Amazon for $970 million. Twitch greenlighted the deal due to Amazon’s shared beliefs in Twitch’s values, vision and community. In the near future, we predict that Amazon might have made this strategic decision in order to leverage Twitch's knowledge to develop its own video ad network.

This collaboration highlights the strength of video on mobile in a recent report by App Annie which proved that video mobile consumption was on the rise as it has increased over 130% from Q1 2013 to Q1 2014.  


In October AppLift, in collaboration with Newzoo's latest data, updated the Global Mobile Landscape infographic that was originally created in 2013. We were pleased to illustrate the growth and importance that mobile is having across regions, devices and ultimately the appeal for app developers. The results showed that the growth was both ‘organic and cannibalistic’ and it confirmed that mobile was on the way to becoming a major game segment in 2015.

mobile games market new

Several reports by eMarketer, Native Mobile, Mashable as well as the infographic all show the potential and necessity for mobile in the next coming years. Particularly for the mobile games market we predict that it will reach revenues of $40.9 Billion by 2017.


As previously mentioned, Apple started the year off on the wrong foot with a lawsuit led by ambiguity that free apps could still charge users through IAP. This became a particular problem for parents whose children had taken advantage of window of opportunity for IAP during the first 15 minutes once an iTunes password has been entered. In November, Apple announced that in order to further clarify any doubt apps would be relabelled from ‘Free’ to ‘Get’.

Head here for our report on the status quo of Free-to-Play regulations in the US, UK and European Union. In 2015 we will keep on bringing you all updates in this space.


We have come full circle, with our final headline focusing on the Chinese mobile games market. Once again, 2014 was the year that Asia has proven itself as the strongest competitor to the west, by far, with $12.2 billion in revenues. Earlier in the year, Kabam invested $120 million into Alibaba to successfully penetrate the Chinese market. In December they announced a new strategic decision that they would transfer over their web games to RockYou

This transformation is part of Kabams’ greater plan for 2015, by which they will focus their efforts on the mobile market in the west and prepare for their entry into the Asian market through their collaboration with Alibaba. 

Johana Leeflang
Johana Leeflang is Leading EMEA Events and Community at AppLift. Johana writes about mobile marketing trends and in-depth market analysis. When she is not digging deep into mobile marketing, Johana enjoys dancing salsa, listening to old-school R&B and hip-hop and traveling; her favorite holiday destination is Milos, Greece for its beautiful beaches and lovely people. Connect with her on LinkedIn here